Concerns law review too focused on 'sex and alcohol'

University of Otago law students are concerned an investigation into the controversial law camps could be one-sided, as the initial interviews only focused on excessive alcohol consumption and sexualised behaviour.

Controversy raged earlier this year over the annual second-year law camps organised by the Society of Otago University Law Students (Souls), after former students reported jelly-wrestling and nudity.

This year's camp was cancelled after the university withdrew its support for the event.

The university contacted Dunedin barrister David Sim in April to write a review of the camps, after the university interviewed eight students who attended camps between 2011 and 2016 about their experiences.

A draft has been distributed to parties involved in the review, including Souls.

In response, Souls has created a online survey, seeking feedback on the camps from both former and current students.

The group said in a statement it would be difficult to fairly and accurately represent the experiences of the majority of students from any review focused on a small number of experiences.

Students werealso asked if they wanted the camp reinstated next year and what changes were needed.

Souls expressed concerns about the process in their submission to the review and would be raising further concerns after reviewing the student responses. There have already been more than 250 responses.

A post on the group's Facebook page said the draft focused on alcohol, sexualised behaviour and pressure; very little attention was given to community service, sports, and friendship aspect of the camps. It was hoped any negative feedback could be used to improve future camps.

The university expected to receive the report once Mr Sim had considered the information he received back from the draft, a university spokeswoman said in a statement. The terms of reference were sufficiently broad to allow Mr Sim to take into account information he deemed relevant.

The investigation had initially been expected to be completed by the end of July.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz


 

Comments

Harm caused by excessive drinking, and sexual assault, for which a man is under arrest, is why the investigation is being held. Its not unbalanced, it's the brief of the investigation: what are the problems and how to address them.